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Is Capital Punishment an effective deterrent to murder or not?
Capital punishment which is otherwise known as death penalty is a situation whereby a person is legally sentenced to death by a court of law in accordance to the constitution of a given state as way of punishment for crime committed. Many societies in the past have been known to practice capital punishment which involved actions of torture and thereafter execution which was done in public (Wilson, 2013).
Response to Bryson Brandon
The question whether capital punishment is an effective deterrent to murder is a bit complicated and it has evoked a lot of debate. In the case of Gregg vs. Georgia which occurred in the year 1976 in a supreme court in the United States of America, death penalty was reinstated after it had been abolished constitutionally following another case Furman Vs Georgia in the year 1972 (Zimring,2004). Statistics show that executions done in the 50s and the 60s were able to prevent an average of about eight homicides. Similarly, numerous other studies carried out revealed that one single execution goes ahead to deter an average of between three and thirty homicide cases. Offering pardon to persons sentenced to capital punishment or exonerating them has led to increase in the number of homicide cases reported as research has shown (Wilson, 2013).
However, the research carried out has been unable to establish whether murder cases committed have been as a result of not meting capital punishment to persons who by law are accorded the death penalty (Wilson, 2013). An overestimation has been done both in the number of homicides deterred by issuing a threat of execution and also on the number of lives saved by issuing a death penalty. All the same it has been established that a certain significant level, capital punishment has been able to deter homicide cases (Zimring, 2004).
Response to James Kingford
Research done to try to justify that capital punishment is an effective way of preventing or reducing homicide cases has been met by contrasting evidence (Wilson,2013). From the year 1996, studies carried out have established that capital punishment has been able to deter the number of possible homicides from a number of between three to thirty cases (Zimring, 2004). This research has been criticized on the bases that this number which has been quoted is inclusive of those homicide cases which are not even linked to capital punishment. In my opinion, issuing capital punishment is only meant to pose a scare to an individual from committing the crime and the rare cases in which the capital punishment is executed in most cases rarely serves as means of deterring possible cases of homicide (Wilson, 2013).
Some researchers have argued that, if the capital punishment can be put into reality immediately the sentence is pronounced and not after almost twenty years as in most cases, then maybe it can act as a deterrent to murder cases for a fact.Further, if my opinion counts, the argument that death penalty can serve to reduce homicide cases is irrelevant. This is because capital punishment does not in any case mean capital deterrence (Zimring, 2004). I can base my argument on the fact that capital punishment is levied to a person or individual who contrary to the law ended the life of another person. It narrows down to the fact that if this person is executed, then he is not in any position to commit another homicide and still there are numerous cases of homicide reported thereafter, thus it by no means acts as a deterrent (Wilson,2013).
Wilson, R. (2013). Capital punishment. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Zimring, F. E. (2004). The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment. New York: Oxford University Press.